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Negotiations For New Lansing Prison Taking Place In Private

Kansas Department of Corrections
The Lansing Correctional Facility

Kansas corrections officials hope to have a contract signed before the end of the year to build a new prison in Lansing. The negotiations over that prison contract have been taking place behind closed doors.

Several companies have submitted bids for the construction project. Mike Gaito, with the Department of Corrections, says the private negotiations, rather than open bidding, will mean a better plan.

“The theory is that you get a project that’s best for the state, not necessarily one that’s low bid. You evaluate it on what’s best for the state,” Gaito says.

Democratic Sen. Marci Francisco has concerns about transparency and the speed of the process. She wants more oversight from lawmakers.

“This is a major step," Francisco said. "Because of the timing, I’d like to see the Legislature back in session when the final decisions are made."

Corrections officials are considering the idea of having a private contractor build the prison and lease it back to the state. A panel of lawmakers would have to sign off on the plan.